Leyland Does Not Deserve Extension

It’s being reported in the local papers that Jim Leyland met with Dave Dombrowski on his way back to Pittsburgh yesterday to discuss a possible contract extension.  Leyland, who has one more year on his $2 million per season contract, was denied.  Apparently, he’s a bit upset about it.

Dombrowski did the right thing.  After managing a $137 million payroll to a last place finish and a losing record, it would be hard to imagine the Tigers granting their skipper an extension the day after the season ended.  I’m sure the word came from Mike Ilitch himself who isn’t in the mood for excuses after shelling out New York money for a team that failed to produce.

Remember the Randy Smith years?  I’m sure ilitch will never forget them.  Smith was an absolute embarrassment as General Manager of the Tigers.  He was brought in by John McHale Jr. (who was brought in by Ilitch to lobby for a new ballpark).  It was obvious to Tigers fans that Smith was not qualified for the job within his first few years.  Ilitch bucked reality and rewarded Smith with a contract extension instead of firing him.  Keeping Randy Smith may have been Ilitches biggest blunder as Tigers owner.

It makes no sense to reward poor performance.  Regardless of how much or little Leyland is to blame for the team’s lousy play, he is the man in charge of the players.  Granting a contract extension yesterday would have sent a terrible message to fans that mediocrity is acceptable to the Tigers brass.  Clearly it is not.

The easiest way for Leyland to get the extension he wants is to come back in 2009 and get the Tigers to the playoffs.  There is no doubt that, with a little tweaking, the Tigers are a serious threat to win it all.  Having a manager focused and under pressure may prove to be a key factor in making that happen.

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and Manager Jim Leyland at spring training 2008.

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and Manager Jim Leyland at spring training 2008.

3 replies on “Leyland Does Not Deserve Extension

  • TigersFaninDC

    I’d prefer to say that the Tigers’ 2008 performance does not warrant anyone on the team being given an extension. Jim Leyland should not, in my view, be singled out. If anyone’s got the name of someone who would (a) do better and (b) is available, I’d be interested to hear it. There are many problems with this team, but the ownership and management of the team aren’t among them.

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  • Tom

    Naturally not winning, everyone wants the manager fired. In this case, I find the stoic, mumbling, hard to understand Jim Leyland needs to be gone. Not that these grown men of summer need motivation, but we need a Lou Pinella, Jow Torre type who can motivate. I am tired of all of his indifference. How can such a good team end up in last place? I would have expected this if you simply don’t have the players. A change is needed with the manager and all the dead weight Detroit has.

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